Sunday, October 12, 2014

Autumn / John Davidson



All the waysides now are flowerless;
     Soon the swallows shall be gone,
And the Hamadryads bowerless,
     And the waving harvest done;
But about the river sources
     And the meres,
And the winding watercourses,
     Summer smiles through parting tears.

Wanderers weary, oh, come hither
     Where the green-leaved willows bend;
Where the grasses never wither,
     Or the purling noises end;
O'er the serried sedge, late blowing,
     Surge and float
Golden flags, their shadows showing
     Deep as in a castle-moat.

Like a ruby of the mosses
     Here the marish pimpernel,
Glowing crimson, still embosses
     Velvet verdure with its bell;
And the scallop-leaved and splendid
By the maiden breezes tended,
     Wears her flowers of golden brede.

Water-plantain, rosy vagrant,
     Flings his garland on the wave;
Mint in midstream rises fragrant,
     Dressed in green and lilac brave;
And that spies may never harass
     In their baths
The shining naiads, purple arras
     Of the loosestrife veils the paths.


Aftermaths of pleasant green
     Bind the earth in emerald bands;
Pouring golden in between,
     Tides of harvest flood the lands.
Showers of sunlight splash and dapple
     The orchard park;
And there the plum hangs and the apple,
     Like smouldering gems and lanterns dark.

Let no shallow jester croak!
     Fill the barn and brim the bowl!
Here is harvest, starving folk,
     Here, with bread for every soul!
Rouse yourselves with happy ditties,
     And hither roam,
Forsaking your enchanted cities
     To keep the merry harvest-home.

Surely now there needs no sigh!
     Bid the piper bring his pipe;
Sound aloud the harvest cry —
     Once again the earth is ripe!
Golden grain in sunlight sleeping,
     When winds are laid,
Can dream no dismal dream of weeping
     Where broken-hearted women fade.

More than would for all suffice
     From the earth's broad bosom pours;
Yet in cities wolfish eyes
     Haunt the windows and the doors.
Mighty One in Heaven who carvest
     The sparrows' meat,
Bid the hunger and the harvest
     Come together we entreat!

Aftermaths of pleasant green
     Bind the earth in emerald bands;
Pouring golden in between
     Tides of harvest flood the lands.
Let the wain roll home with laughter,
     The piper pipe,
And let the girls come dancing after,
     For once again the earth is ripe.

John Davidson (1857-1909)
from Ballads and Songs, 1898

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

John Davidson biography

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